Home Medical Courses NewsMedical Exams Karnataka: Medical student’s death in Ukraine triggers growing opposition to NEET

Karnataka: Medical student’s death in Ukraine triggers growing opposition to NEET

by Pragati Singh

The murder of Naveen Shekharappa, a fourth-year medical student from Kharkiv, Ukraine, has sparked resistance to the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET). On Wednesday, Kannada organisations launched a Twitter campaign with the hashtag ‘BanNEET.’

Naveen, a deserving student who scored 97 percent in pre-university, was unable to acquire a medical seat in his home state of Karnataka. “We were unable to afford a seat in a private college, and so we had no option but to send him to Ukraine,” his father Shekharappa told The Hindu.

Former Chief Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) H.D. Kumaraswamy, in a series of tweets, also opposed NEET calling it a “death knell” to the dreams of poor and rural students who want to study medicine. “A meritorious rural student like Naveen unable to get a medical seat in the country has exposed the “shameless face” of NEET. His death in Ukraine is a question to the conscience of India … ” he tweeted.

He pointed out that the introduction of NEET has spawned a rash of tuition and coaching centres. He also claimed that 99% of candidates who cleared NEET had received coaching. It is difficult for rural and government college students to clear it, making medical education exclusive to the rich, he concluded.

Kannada organisations also termed NEET “a violation of federalism” and sought its abolition. In her tweet, Kannada activist Shruthi Marulappa questioned why the Union Government was taking away opportunities of “our children” as it is State governments that are providing the infrastructure for colleges.

Another Twitter user pointed out Karnataka has 9,445 undergraduate medical seats of the total 84,649 in the country – the highest for any State. It accounts for more than 11% of the country’s medical seats, but NEET had made these seats unavailable to meritorious students from the State, he said.

“Karnataka has the most number of medical colleges and seats in the country, but meritorious students from the State are not able to secure seats here. Uttar Pradesh with an over 25 crore population doesn’t have as many colleges as Karnataka with a population of 6.5 crore has and that is why NEET came in,” tweeted T.A. Narayana Gowda, of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike.

He also came down heavily on the political class of the State for not opposing NEET, like neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Amidst growing criticism, Higher Education Minister C. N. Ashwath Narayan defended NEET as a “much needed reform in medical education” and called those opposing it “traitors and money sharks”.

Meanwhile, Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah, condemning the BJP government in Delhi for its “failure” to secure the safety of students stranded in Ukraine, tweeted this was not the right time to debate the adverse impact of the chaos created by Narendra Modi Government’s implementation of NEET to bring uniformity.

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